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Firm hops aboard mission to Brazil

The company relishes doing business with South America's largest country.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2000


HUDSON -- A Pasco County manufacturer of organic fertilizer is hoping to do the Sao Paulo samba all the way to the bank.

United Agricultural Service America, a maker of liquid fertilizer that specializes in supplying developing countries, has signed on with a state-sponsored trade mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Gov. Jeb Bush will lead the team of as many as 60 companies pitching their products to Latin America's largest country July 16-20.

Mark and Lajos Pecsenka, the Canadian-born potato and tobacco farmers who started the Hudson fertilizer company in 1994, see opportunity in Brazil.

As a large grower of citrus, coffee, soybeans and corn, Brazil has an immense appetite for fertilizer.

"In our business, customers want to see you," said Lajos Pecsenka, who also touted his company's fertilizer at a trade mission to Mexico last summer. "It doesn't matter if it's in our country or another country."

The business began by supplying fertilizer, produced in a 10,000-square-foot building off Casper Avenue, to Florida citrus and strawberry growers. Now the brothers ship their product as far away as Vietnam, Japan, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

"Many of our customers found us on the Internet," Pecsenka said.

United Agricultural Services is one of two Pasco companies bound for Brazil, said John Walsh of the Pasco Economic Development Council.

Citing confidentiality requirements, Walsh declined to release the name of the second company, a manufacturer of aluminum windows and doors.

The sponsor of the trade mission is Enterprise Florida, the state's business promotions arm. According to the agency, nearly $9-billion in trade passed between Florida and Brazil last year: $5.8-billion in exports to Brazil and $2.8-billion in imports from Brazil.

"It's a very large economy in Latin America, and we believe there are ample opportunities to grow that market," said Enterprise Florida's Caesar Gonzmart.

Gonzmart said about half the 60 Brazilian trade mission slots still are available. For information, call (727) 545-2438.

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